Origin of Peanut Sauce
Although commonly associated with Thai cuisine, peanut sauce actually originated in Indonesia (source). What Americans know as peanut sauce is more commonly referred to as satay sauce (or bumbu kacang) in Indonesia, because it’s most often served with the popular Indonesian dish, satay (skewered, grilled meats).
Our inspired version is not authentic and closer to a Thai-style peanut sauce. For another, more traditional take on Thai-style peanut sauce, try this recipe from Hot Thai Kitchen.
5-Ingredient Peanut Sauce
- 1/2 cup salted creamy peanut butter* (or almond butter or sunflower butter)
- 2-3 Tbsp gluten-free tamari (if not gluten-free sub soy sauce // if soy-free sub coconut aminos*)
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or other sweetener of choice)
- 1 tsp chili garlic sauce (or 1 red Thai chili, minced // or 1/4 tsp red pepper flake // adjust to preferred spice level)
- 2-3 Tbsp lime juice
- ~1/4 cup water (to thin)
- To a medium mixing bowl add (starting with the amount at the lower end of the measurement range where applicable) peanut butter, tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos), maple syrup, lime juice, chili sauce (or chili or red pepper), and whisk to combine. Add water a little at a time until a thick but pourable sauce is achieved.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, chili garlic sauce (or red chili or red pepper) for heat, lime juice for acidity, or tamari for saltiness. If your sauce has become too thin, add more nut butter. If it’s too thick, thin with more water. For a fun flavor twist, add some fresh grated ginger to taste.
- Perfect for salads, spring rolls, noodle dishes, and more! Pairings linked above. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
*If subbing coconut aminos know that it isn’t as pungent or salty a flavor as tamari and soy sauce. So you may need to add a bit more than the recommended amount. Season to taste.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of the tamari, maple syrup, and lime juice.
*The above photos show examples of sauce made with peanut butter, cashew butter, and sunflower butter.
*For a more traditional take on Indonesian-style peanut sauce, check out this recipe from Tin Eats.